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Life of a Writer: Winter Edition

Exciting news & updates from students, alumni, faculty and staff. Enjoy!


Theresa Anne Carey’s (SW) first-semester screenplay, The Lady Pirates, is a Winner in the 2020 Moondance International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. She wrote The Lady Pirates under the tutelage of mentor Gabriel Jason Dean. Additionally, her creative thesis screenplay, Mestengo, is a Quarter-Finalist in the 2020 Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest. Mestengo was written during her second semester with mentor Sam Zalutsky and polished for her creative thesis semester with mentor Larry Brenner. Last but not least, her screenplay Swine Heart (polished with mentors Larry Brenner and Charlie Schulman) is a Finalist in StoryPros International Screenplay Contest.

Andra Laine Hunter (PW) is thrilled to announce that her ten-minute play “Star Bright” was chosen as a finalist in the 25th annual City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting competition. It was read virtually this fall and, pandemic permitting, will be performed live in the summer of 2021! Additionally, her ten-minute play “Maude” was performed virtually in Austin, Texas, as part of New Manifest Theatre Company’s Manifest Minifest on September 26. Andra’s play Perseids was read by Almost Adults in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on October 11. Finally, her ten-minute play “Geology” is slated to be performed by Emerald Theatre Co. of Memphis, Tennessee, in September 2021.

Laura Johnsrude (Professional Writing) has a creative nonfiction piece, “By The Neck,” in the Fall 2020 issue of Bellevue Literary Review. Her essay, “Finishing the Breast (Or, Four Bras a Year),” is published in the Fall 2020 issue of Fourth Genre. Twitter @LauraJohnsrude, Instagram laura.johnsrude


Priscilla Atkins (P ’08) has poems published in journals: “Song,” Oyster River Pages; “The Pill Diaries,” Blue Mountain Review; and “Tapered Daydream,” “Housework” and “Stalking K,” Otis Nebula 16.

Holly Beck (PW/SW ’20) presented two posters in September at the 2020 National WIC Association Virtual Nutrition and Breastfeeding Promotion & Exhibits Conference on Maximizing Tongue Tie Outcomes and Maximizing Oral Frenulum Outcomes, attended by over 3,000 participants nationwide. In November 2019, Holly was selected to chair the first-ever Advisory Board for the United States Lactation Consultant Association, and spoke on The Impact and Cost of a ‘Productive’ Society on Nursing Families as part of their workshop series in October 2020.

Andie Redwine-Becker (SW ’20) presented her ECE entitled “POV and Dramatic Irony in Classic Disney Adaptations” at the Northeast Popular Culture Association’s annual conference. Sponsored by Southern New Hampshire University, this conference was presented virtually October 22-24, 2020 with over 150 academic presentations. Andie’s scholarship was selected as part of the conference’s special topics on Disney Studies.

Matt Berman (CNF ’13) is the new Assistant Director of Jackson Hole Writers. Reach out to him if you’re interested in attending our virtual Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference this June, or (fingers crossed), the in-person version in 2022. And check out for photo essays, publication links and more.

Glenny Brock (CNF ’07) received a 2021 literary fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. She will use the $5,000 prize to buy herself some time to spend on a memoir in progress. This fall, she taught “Writing for the Media” as an adjunct professor at Birmingham-Southern College. In March she joined the Modern Language Association and received a $500 emergency grant established by the MLA to support non-tenured educators across the U.S. affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her most recent publication was a feature titled “Protests Take Aim at Confederate Monuments,” online and in the print edition of Architectural Record magazine.

David Carren’s (SW ’05) screenwriting textbook, Next Level Screenwriting : Insights, Ideas and Inspiration for the Intermediate Screenwriter, which he co-wrote with David Landau, is now available through Focal Press. This is an intermediate screenwriting book, for those who have already learned the basics of screenwriting, written a screenplay or two and want to bring their writing and stories to the next level. Additionally, his original screenplay, The Clever Girl, has won the Grand Prize at the Cynosure Awards, which included a $5,000 honorarium. In this project, he examines the impact yellow fever, or bronze john, would have on an isolated West Texas community in the mid 19th Century within the context of race relations and border issues that are still, unfortunately, relevant to today. This script also won Best Screenplay in the 2017 San Antonio Film Festival.

Eric Cravey (CNF ’11), editor of The Times West Virginian, and two former reporters at the paper were awarded first place for In-Depth Reporting in September 2020 by the West Virginia Press Association for a September 2019 series on homelessness in the city.

Cynthia Ezell’s (CNF ’19) essay “Wilderness” appears in the latest edition of Deep Wild Journal. Written under the tutelage of Dianne Aprile and Nancy McCabe, aided by Eleanor Morse in the spring 2019 Book-Length Manuscript workshop, the essay explores the experience of a woman solo backpacking. She encounters both the healing isolation and the unpredictability of nature, as well as the capriciousness of the human imagination. The journal may be purchased at Cynthia is available online at her website, Twitter, a blog, and Instagram.

Jeffrey Fischer-Smith’s (PW ’17) short film DOG DREAMS won Best Drama Short for June in Hollywood Just4Shorts and has been chosen as an official selection in the Santa Fe Film Festival 2021. Jeffrey is the screenwriter, and the film is based on his short play “A Dog Dreams.”

Barry George (P ’09) is delighted to announce that his new collection of haiku, Sirens and Rain, has been published by Accents Publishing. One of the poems has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Karen George (F ’09) had poems published in Salamander, Mom Egg Review, Tab: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics, Tipton Poetry Journal, HeartWood Literary Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Thimble Magazine, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, and in Still: The Journal, and her first ever creative nonfiction work published in Atticus Review. Additionally, she had two visual poems (her first!) published in the visual poetry issue of The Indianapolis Review, and she was a featured reader at Bloomington (Indiana) Writer’s Guild Spoken Word Series virtual event in October.

Chris Helvey’s (F ’06) novel Violets for Sergeant Schiller was recently released by Wings ePress. His novella Behind The 8 Ball was released December 1 by Trajectory Press, as part of Echoes of Loss And Belonging, which also features a novella by Howard Wolf, Of Two Lives on the Lower Golan. Both books are available in paperback and ebook format.

Lynn Hoffman’s (SW and W4CYA ’15) full length play Concert Pitch advanced to Round 2 of the American Association of Community Theatres’ 2022 New Play Fest. Her play Three Mothers has been rescheduled for a reading at The Depot for New Play Readings in 2021 due to the pandemic. Currently, she is working on Martha and Me, for which she received a 2020 Artist Fellowship from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Parneshia Jones (P ’06) has been named director of the press on Northwestern University’s campus in Evanston, Illinois, effective September 21, 2020. Jones will be the 127-year-old press’s first African-American director and will be one of two Black women who are university press directors currently serving nationwide. A full press release is available at Publisher’s Weekly.

Chris Mattingly (Poetry ’10) was recently the recipient of a Collider Artist-In-Residence grant from the Louisville Public Library. Mattingly also received a grant from the Louisville Arts Network for a commissioned collaboration with pianist Gabe Evens. Mattingly was recently invited to write a piece for the Speed Inspired Series at the Speed Art Museum at the University of Louisville.

Precious McKenzie (W4CYA ’20) recently had her middle-grade novel Ruffian published by BeaLu Books. The novel chronicles the life of the actual racehorse Ruffian and is interwoven with the fictional story of Meg Murphy, a teen girl who helps train the horse. Ruffian began in Spalding’s W4CYA courses, under the mentorship of Lesléa Newman, Beth Bauman, and Edie Hemingway.

Natalie Mucker’s (CNF ’19) “Flesh Memories,” originally published in The Louisville Review (#86), was selected as a notable essay/piece of literary nonfiction for The Best American Essays 2020. This year’s collection was edited by André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name. Natalie lives and writes in Bellevue, Kentucky, and can be found on Instagram @natalie_e_m.

Katie Darby Mullins (F ’14) had her first book, Neuro, Typical: Chemical Reactions & Trauma Bonds (Summer Camp Press) published on November 17. The book deals with her trying to piece together the different ‘selves’ in the wake of a brain-stem stroke and a house fire. You can find Katie on Twitter.

Andrew Najberg (P ’10) will have a full-length collection of poetry titled The Goats Have Taken Over the Barracks published in the spring through Finishing Line Press. Additionally, Andrew published a poem titled “Why we don’t want the gates open” in the February 2020 issue of Mockingheart Review.

Mervyn Seivwright (P ’19) had his poems “An Elegy on Verdun” in India’s INNSÆI Journal, International Journal of Creative Literature for Peace and Humanity (IJCLPH), “A Man’s Demons,” in Burningword Literature Journal, “Can You Taste the Ivory Coast Chocolate?,” a Second Runner-Up prize in Mount Island Literature Journal, and “First Highway Drive in America,” in Norway’s Griffel Norwegian-English Literature Journal. His poem “Dangling,” published in August, is nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Santa Fe Literary Review.

Katerina Stoykova (P/CNF ’09) this year celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her independent literary press, Accents Publishing. Additionally, the press had a really good year. The following books were published: Literary Accents, Vol. 1 Issue 2; Earth Is My Church, by Eric Scott Sutherland; Open Burning, by Christopher McCurry; And Luckier, by Leatha Kendrick; The Junkie Who Loved Horses, ed. Sonja Wilde-de Vries; Literary Accents, Vol. 1 Issue 3; Masked Man, Black, by Frank X Walker; The Compost Reader, by Karen Schubert; Sirens and Rain, by Barry George (P ’09), and currently working on In with the Old and Out with the New, by Jude Lally.

Lindsay Zibach’s (F ’16) short film “Seeing Diane Arbus” is in pre-production as a nonprofit project through Film Independent. She will direct her own screenplay, which was a runner-up in Film Pipeline’s 2020 Short Script Competition, having adapted it from her creative thesis and graduation reading. The story is about a film projectionist with dwarfism and her fated reunion with the infamous photographer Diane Arbus. Every donation not only supports the all-female leadership team and their crews (artists with credits on Stranger Things, American Horror Story, and Joker, to name a few), but is also 100% tax-deductible. If you’d like to support increased representation for people with disabilities, all Spalding-affiliated donors will be thanked with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, videos and updates from the set (and a tax write-off!).


Dianne Aprile (CNF) interviewed Spalding CNF faculty member Fenton Johnson at Seattle Town Hall about his new book, At the Center of All Beauty. The interview, originally slated for March but postponed due to the pandemic, was Zoomed live on November 8 and is available at the link above. Dianne also spent a week in October on the Olympic Peninsula for a solo writing retreat, her first trip out of town in 2020.

K. L. Cook (Fiction) was interviewed for the podcast Writer’s Voice about his most recent book, The Art of Disobedience, a collection of essays on form, fiction, and influence. Many of these essays began as Spalding MFA craft and plenary lectures. For more information, check out his website.

Fenton Johnson (Fiction/CNF) held a reading (virtually) from At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, on November 12th with Louisville-born poet Julie Marie Wade, sponsored by Carmichael’s Bookstore.

Fenton’s Crowdcast conversation with Spalding’s own Dianne Aprile (CNF) was held virtually at Seattle Town Hall on November 8 and is available online for viewing at the link above.

Erin Keane (Professional Writing and Poetry) recently joined Nancy McCabe (Fiction/CNF) in her feature writing class at University of Pittsburgh-Bradford to discuss her journey from poet to Editor in Chief at Salon, and the publishing landscape both in and outside of New York. She also appeared on Spalding alum Katerina Stoykova’s show “Accents” to discuss The Louisville Anthology (Belt Publishing, out now), which she edited, as well as to read and discuss her own work. She’s setting up more virtual events to promote the anthology, as you do now — most recently a conversation with Amy Miller (CNF ’14) on November 5 (replay available), featuring readings by David Harrity (P ’07) and Ashleé Clark (CNF ’19) from The Louisville Anthology, hosted by Louisville Literary Arts and Carmichael’s Bookstore.

Karen Mann, Administrative Director, started a book club this year through her local library; a recent read was The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. She is currently reading Elaine Orr’s Swimming Between Worlds and enjoying it! Karen is working on a second draft of a science fiction novel set in 2075, with the working title 100 Spaceships Land on Earth. She is looking forward to celebrating the MFA program’s twentieth anniversary in 2021.

Lesléa Newman (W4CYA) is pleased to announce that her picture book “Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale With A Tail” has been included on the 2020 Tablet Magazine Best Jewish Children’s Books of the Year list. Lesléa is also thrilled to announce that New Verse News has nominated her for a Pushcart Prize for her poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Life Before the Virus.”

Additionally, Lesléa has a new poem titled “The Visit” published by Straw Dog Writers Guild on their page, “Pandemic Poetry and Prose: Writing in the Time of Corona.” Lesléa initiated this project, and at its end, Straw Dogs Writer Guild published a tribute to her for creating this endeavor, which gave 150 local writers, as well as countless readers from all over the country, an opportunity to share in words, their feelings during this time.

Greg Pape (Poetry) has new poems appearing or forthcoming in Literary Accents, Talking River Review, and The Louisville Review. Several of his poems will appear in The Mitchell Slough Saga by Michael Howell, a book of nonfiction about a long battle to keep a branch of the Bitterroot River in Montana open to public access after wealthy landowners tried to close it off and claim it as their private domain. Greg has also written the introduction to The Mitchell Slough Saga, forthcoming from Stoneydale Press.

Neela Vaswani’s (Fiction) short-short, “The Third Woman,” has been published in Waxwing’s Fall 2020 issue.

Rebecca Walker (CNF) wrote an interactive journal, What’s Your Story: A Journal for Everyday Evolution, with coauthor Lily Diamond, that was published on December 8. Additional coverage for Rebecca’s latest project can be found on Vogue. Rebecca can be found on Instagram, both a personal account and one for her new book.

Keith S. Wilson (poetry and professional writing) recently won first place in Narrative Magazine’s 12th Annual Poetry Contest. Occasional visual poems and many photos can be found on his Instagram.

Katy Yocom (Associate Director) recently led a four-week workshop on creative self-care for Louisville Literary Arts and loved the fact that the class consisted mostly of Spalding family. Her novel Three Ways to Disappear was mentioned on Thanksgiving Day in The New York Times; she’s grateful to Kentucky Poet Laureate Jeff Worley for including her book in his article, “Words of Gratitude from Kentucky.” Her Spalding MFA classmate Frank X. Walker was listed in the same article, as was faculty member Fenton Johnson and past faculty member Kiki Petrosino. In December, she served as pinch-hitter by reading for the InKY Reading Series in place of Nancy McCabe, who couldn’t attend.



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